Today marks 20 weeks pregnant with our son. I'm halfway there!
To be honest, though, this has been the roughest month of pregnancy for me. I've experienced more physical discomfort, pain, exhaustion, stretching, and nauseous that my first 4 months combined. Vomit, gas, indigestion, utter exhaustion, and physical depletion have all been a major part of this past month of pregnancy. It may have some to do with 2 weeks of holiday traveling, my belly growing, caring for 2 toddlers, and a few very emotionally exhausting work weeks, but I'm desperately praying this isn't a trend for the remainder of my pregnancy. The past couple weeks have involved a LOT of tears, Tums, careful eating, desperate prayers, silent fears. If you need further proof that we are less-than-perfect, the Christmas tree wast just taken down 4 days ago and is still sitting in our living room in it's box.
REDEMPTION. Instead of working a satisfying and FULL work day today at my church, I spent the day in bed. I woke up and knew I wasn't feeling ok. But I pulled myself out of bed, took a shower, starting putting on makeup, and then sent a text to our [male] lead pastor and [male] co-worker that I was feeling awful and needed prayer. The next 5 minutes of text exchanges lead me to literally weeping in my bathroom: "rest with joy", "we are a team", "we got your back", "take care of yourself and baby". While wiping away hormonal tears to read the texts, I realized the tears were both present and historic.
Present because THIS has been the worst week of pregnancy. I've felt terrible most of the week and by yesterday felt utterly discouraged at the feat of carrying my son for another 20 weeks. I've tried to tough it out this week - at work and at home - while still quietly attending to my body and baby. It's left me exhausted.
But my tears also opened up a historic wound and fear in my leadership journey. Since the early days of ministry, I've been afraid - rightfully and imagined - that my being feminine would eventually place a ceiling on my influence. I felt that most acutely as a mother. So, too often I've erred on the side of not crying on the job, faking feminine pain, speaking like a man when my feminine voice is more needed, not talking about my infertility or kids' latest accomplishments, etc.
However, being on staff at Newsong for nearly the past 8 years has been very healing and freeing for me. Our mostly-male leadership has affirmed, blessed, promoted, and stood by me in the most unlikely times - like this morning. Receiving texts like these this morning - when all I wanted to do is suck in my protruding belly, push through the yuckiness, and pretend to be Super Momma-Pastor - they didn't let me. They didn't ask invasive questions or challenge my plea for prayer. They didn't ask if I thought I could still fulfill my significant responsibilities today or ask that I find replacements. They simply blessed me and prayed for me. My risk to be vulnerable was monumentally healing for me and, I believe, restoring for the community I lead in.
LIMITS. If there's just one lesson to be learned in pregnancy for me, it's accepting my limits. Today was a clear example but there's been a hundred over the past few months. Some close friends gently, firmly, and compassionately chastised me a couple weeks ago that though the demands of my job and motherhood are evident these days, there is nothing more important than caring for the little man growing inside of me. I only get 1 shot to be pregnant, only 9 months to set him on a developmental trajectory that will impact the rest of his life, only one shot to "enjoy" these 9 months. It was a reset of my limits and priorities that I think about every day. Though I may not be able to work 12-hour days anymore or throw my babies up in the air, I must care for this little being consuming my womb and every conscious moment. I'm the ONLY one who can do this job.
As for a picture of my belly, here's a picture I took a couple days ago from our HORRENDOUS women's restrooms at work. The background is an atrocity and it's a self-portrait into a mirror, but at least it captures nearly 20 weeks en utero for our son.
|I have to say, maternity pants are the BEST!
So comfy and no zippers and buttons to deal with when going to the bathroom. BONUS!
NAMES. Also, on a very random note, we have no idea what to name our son. We have a few names in the queue but no glorious moment affirmed by singing angels. Again, naming Judah and Addise was borderline divine and simple. For this baby, we had the PERFECT first AND middle name selected. I even have back-up girl names. But to name this boy feels impossible. I've resorted at this point to reading movie credit names and listening into stranger's conversations for tips. Our major problem is the 1) we want a creative and somewhat unique name, like J&A, and 2) it must be highly meaningful and somewhat prophetic for our son's life. That eliminates about one million names. And once you start looking for names for YOUR child, you realize how many names you hate.
Again, if you have any suggestions on where to look for names let me know. And you'll get bonus points if you can direct me to a place where I can search for names by meaning [ex: names that mean "restore" are...].
Thanks for hanging with me in the sob story of today. And for praying. I know it changes things, especially me.